Favorite Baby Seal Clubbings

Submitted by EGD on September 14th, 2012 at 10:28 AM


Certainly it's always much more fun watching Michigan eke out a tight, fourth-quarter victory over a difficult conference foe, or take some highly ranked opponent behind the proverbial woodshed ala '97 Penn State or '06 ND (or ’93 Ohio!!).  But sometimes it's nice to relax and just enjoy watching a tomato can get kicked in, beaten, and squashed--especially after a tough couple of games to start the season.  So, I've been thinking back to some of Michigan's more enjoyable baby seal clubbings of the past: games in which the opposing team never had a chance going in, and things played out that way on the field.  Here are some of my personal favorites from the past 20 years, with links to Wolverine Historian’s videos:

1) Michigan 52, Minnesota 17 (1995): Scott Dreisbach injured himself earlier in the week by getting his fingers caught in a lineman's jersey during a practice rep, so Brian Griese made his first start at Michigan.  I couldn't find anything on the web with stats or a game recap or anything, but I remember Griese connecting on several long passes (to whom I don't recall, but our receivers at the time included Toomer, Hayes, a young Tai Streets, and tight ends Jay Riemersma and Jerame Tuman).  However, I did find WH's video.

2) Michigan 65, Bowling Green 21 (2010): Say what you want about RichRod, but you have to admit that watching his offense tear apart weaker competition was football crack.  UM racked up 721 total yards in that game; Denard had 129 yards on just 5 carries, and just about everyone on the roster got into the game (unfortunately, that included Devin Gardner, whose UM career may wind up being a year shorter because of it).  If you want to relive the magic, here’s Wolverine Historian’s video.

3) Michigan 58, Indiana 0 (2000): One of the most flawless performances I've ever personally seen by a Michigan team; UM scored 45 points in the first half, punted only once all game (and for 67 yards!), and shut-out Antwaan Randle El (who had torched us for massive yardage the previous two seasons, almost beating Tom Brady in a 34-31 shootout in 1999).  As always, Wolverine Historian is on it.

 4) Michigan 49, Michigan State 3 (2002): If you are thinking, “What? MSU can never qualify as a baby seal!” then you probably don’t remember their 2002 team, which was a trainwreck smashing into the mother of all tire fires.  But Michigan, angered (and rightly so) by the Spartan Bob/Clockgate heist from the previous year, showed no mercy to the hapless Spartans—beating them so badly that, when it was over, MSU finally put Bobby Williams out of his misery. This demolition was so incredibly epic that WH had to break up his video into two parts.  Here’s uno, here’s dos.

5) Michigan 56, Illinois 14 (2003): Arguably the worst Big Ten team of the ‘00s, Ron Turner brought his Fighting Illini (who would finish the season 1-11) to the Big House for what would be its most lopsided thumping of the season.  There wouldn’t have really been anything memorable about this game,except for the amazing Steve Breaston reverse-field 74-yard punt return TD (begins at 9:30 of this punt return compilation by WH, which is much more interesting than the rest of the actual game).

Obviously, this diary wouldn’t have been possible (and by “possible,” I mean “any good”) without Wolverine Historian’s videos.  So, thanks be to him. And as always, Go Blue!



September 14th, 2012 at 12:58 PM ^

Yeah the 80's saw some epic Michigan beatdowns of the Illini.  Bo didn't like the way Illinois unceremoniously fired Moeller after only 3 seasons, essentially because Gary wouldn't condone boosters getting too "involved" in the recruiting process.  After that, anytime Michigan got the drop on the Illini on the football field, Bo took them full-on to the woodshed.

1980 / 45-14

1981 / 70-21

1986 / 69-13

1988 / 38-9


September 14th, 2012 at 1:31 PM ^

That '88 game was one of my best early memories of Michigan Football.  Illinois had Jeff George and was 5-1-1 in the Big Ten headed into the game.   Michigan was 5-0-1 in the Big Ten, so the game had major Rose Bowl implications and was expected to be competitive.  It wasn't.

Blue in Seattle

September 14th, 2012 at 2:24 PM ^

From 1980 until he was head coach, he was back at Michigan during those games against Illinois.  It's amazing how many position groups he coached at Michigan.  Bo was clearly grooming his replacement pretty early on.

Gary Moeller

I mean, who goes from QB coach, to DC to OC in a matter of 7 years at a program?

I wasn't able to watch many seasons of Michigan football during the Moeller era (being in the Navy and deployed on a submarine takes away huge chunks of TV watching in the pre DVR era) But I remember when I graduated in 1989 and new Bo was picking him that we had the right guy to start trying for National Championships, instead of just going to the Rose Bowl.  Ironically, it ended up being Lloyd, but with all of Moeller's players.


turd ferguson

September 14th, 2012 at 10:47 AM ^

This is a fun list.  Thanks.

I remember that Indiana game being an absolute beat down.  If only we had been able to match up one of our great offenses in the early 2000s with one of our great defenses in the mid-2000s, we could have had something amazing.

Also, is it literally true that the Bowling Green game might cost Gardner his redshirt?  If so, that decision was wildly stupid (and/or self-serving).  I'd imagine that Rodriguez, who was understandably worried about job security, wanted to give us something to be excited about for the future, but that move was obviously not in the best interests of Gardner's career.


September 14th, 2012 at 10:47 AM ^

Gardner played against Notre Dame in 2010 as well. Week 2. Don't blame Bowling Green for Gardner's burnt redshirt. Blame an irresponsible QB from California and a coach in Arizona.


September 14th, 2012 at 11:19 AM ^

Much like the 2010 Bowling Green game, RR's offense was rolling with a second-string crew of Denard and Vincent Smith.  727 yards of total offense, 461 on the ground.  And David Cone: 3-3 for 54 yards.

I remember that their band's halftime show was quite good.


September 14th, 2012 at 11:25 AM ^

My dad always talks fondly of what I believe was his first Michigan game as a student. They played Duke and, IIRC, the score was something like 70-0. He said it was a blast. Doesn't really mean anything historically, but anybody's first game at Michigan stadium is a big one. Also, hearing about the days when he was able to bring in a cooler with which to get trashed during the game makes me wish that was still allowed. Way to go Dave "The Brand" Brandon.

/obviously Brandon had nothing to do with this.


September 14th, 2012 at 11:26 AM ^

38-0... and it was probably more lopsided than the score. It was 31-0 at the half, Jimmy Clausen was running for his life all day, and ND finished with 79 total yards, including -6 (!!!) yards rushing.

I'd say they qualify as a Baby Seal because they finished that year 3-9.

Avant's Hands

September 14th, 2012 at 12:19 PM ^

I know that NDs 03 team finished better than 3-9 (although I couldn't tell you the actual record), but if we could count them as a baby seal then the 2003 game is my favorite 38-0 beating of ND. Early in the fourth ND had -50 (!!) yards rushing and I don't think they had crossed midfield. That was Brady Quinn's first action in mop up duty I believe. It was also one of my first games at the Big House and I grew up near South Bend so this one was special for me.


micheal honcho

September 14th, 2012 at 11:53 AM ^

I was at the famous Illinois beating featuring some of AC's greatest hits. It was my first game at the big house. Funny thing was I recall the Illini going up something like 14-0 in the first quarter. It went downhill from there as Bo turned the dogs loose on them. It was a great first game for me.


September 14th, 2012 at 12:22 PM ^

And ignoring things like the MSU revenge game, for real soup can games, I liked the 1992 Houston game. They had brought in the run and shoot and liked running up the score against bad teams. In '89 they put up 95 on a post death penalty SMU, 84 on Eastern Washington in 90, 73 On Louisiana Tech in '91. So they come up here in 1992 with just a horrible reputation, and we pound them 61-7. And we were taking knees at the end, to show them how it should be done. All of college football was happy about that one.

The program kinda fell apart after that till Sumlin got there.

Ali G Bomaye

September 14th, 2012 at 12:42 PM ^

That Houston game was the second game I ever attended.  I don't know who they had played prior to us, but I remember seeing in the game program that their RB was averaging over 10 ypc on the season and Klingler had thrown for a billion yards, so 10-year-old me thought this must be some kind of awesome team.  Once the game started it became abundantly clear how not-awesome they were.


September 14th, 2012 at 1:44 PM ^

A game my Freshman year

The Aggies had trounced highly rated Texas Tech in Lubbock the week before to become the fifth-ranked team in the national polls. They had an improving defense and, more impressively, enough offensive weapons to make NATO envious: David Walker, a heady senior quarterback; Curtis Dickey, the leading all-purpose runner in America (172.3 yards a game); Tony Franklin, who was averaging three field goals a game and George Woodard, a massive fullback who blasts into the line with the impact of a boulder hurtling down a steep slope.

A&M ran 273 pound fullback George Woodard into the center of the line 39 times.


Blue boy johnson

September 14th, 2012 at 3:22 PM ^

1975 Northwestern game.

Michigan 69 Northwestern 0

Rob Lytle, Gordon Bell, and Harlan Huckleby all went for 100 plus yards. I was in pure Bob Ufer nirvana that day.

Bo be Bo. Michigan had 573 yards on the ground that day and 32 yards passing.


Name Att Yd+ Yd- Net Yd Yd/Att TD Lng
Harlan Huckleby 18 157 0 157 8.7 2 27
Rob Lytle 8 105 0 105 13.1 2 47
Gordon Bell 14 100 0 100 7.1 2 20
Mark Elzinga 9 71 4 67 7.4 1 22
Rick Leach 6 56 0 56 9.3 0 34
Russell Davis 9 53 0 53 5.9 0 17
Scott Corbin 4 30 0 30 7.5 0 18
Rob Carian 1 5 0 5 5.0 0 5
Total 69 577 4 573 8.3 7 47



September 14th, 2012 at 3:24 PM ^

My sophomore year as an undergrad and Wisconsin rolled into town 5-0 believing they had a chance.  The UW chapter of my fraternity sent a large contingent to Ann Arbor for the game and camped out in our house.  It was my first exposure to massive beer consumption at 8AM.  I'm was surprised most of these guys made it to the stadium.

Anyway, the game was an epic 56-0 beat down.  The offense ran wild and the defense was on fire that day.  Wisconsin lost all their remaining games to finish the season at 5-6. 


September 14th, 2012 at 6:12 PM ^

I take exception with the OP's entire premise. Baby seals rarely go out clubbing. In fact, they are quite studious and generally opt for the library and avoid the club scene altogether.